Mongolia by horse
In spring 2012 I bought a feral Mongol pony and set off across the steppe with minimal gear and no tent. 'Little Nicky' was small and stubborn and our working relationship was an ongoing challenge. That aside, we spent a magical two months together (joined by a dog for the last few weeks) covering 600 miles off the map from Ulaan Baatar to Lake Khovsgul.
During our journey we encountered storms, snakes, vicious mosquito swarms, gold prospectors, traditional wrestlers, horse thieves, and ceaselessly generous hospitality with many, many cups of airag (fermented horse milk).
Mongolia is larger than France, Spain and Germany combined, but with a population of just 3 million, most of whom live in the capital. It is the most sparsely populated country in the world and the extreme isolation of many of the nomads is reflected in their extreme kindness to passing strangers.
The story of this journey is recounted in the book On Roads That Echo
A timed seven-minute talk at a London charity event